California ISO Approves Small-Generator Interconnection Reforms

The California Independent System Operator Corp. (ISO) Board of Governors has approved a plan to streamline the process for studying small power projects into a new process for hooking up large generators to the grid.

The ISO is charged with studying the grid impacts of new generation projects. Developers submit requests for ISO engineering studies as part of the initial process to advance their projects, many of which are proposed for the same transmission-strapped regions of California. Collectively, these solar, wind and geothermal resource projects produce the same impact to the grid as a single large generator, the ISO says.

The ISO intends to take a big-picture perspective in planning for the needed transmission upgrades, taking into consideration clusters of new generation projects, both small and large, to speed the projects through the study process, as well as minimize overbuilding and undue costs associated with transmission expansion.

‘The current serial study process was designed when we were receiving 15 or 20 interconnection requests a year,’ notes ISO Vice President of Market and Infrastructure Development Keith Casey. ‘That has increased to 150 small generator projects in the past two years.’

The ISO will now seek Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval for the unified interconnection process.

SOURCE: California ISO

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